Friday, February 13, 2015

Where does happiness come from?

I've watched Makae these last few months from afar. She hasn't wanted much contact with us. I took her to lunch once, but that was it other than that a few facebook messages, meeting her at Wal-mart to buy her a cold-weather sleeping bag and getting her stuff from an apartment.

When I try to reach out to her she is distant. When I try to help her she takes the help... sometimes as though it is her right. But most of the time it is awkward. I think she feels we judge her. Perhaps we do. Not intentionally, but I do have a hard time believing she is happy, or that her actions will lead to happiness.

For one thing, although she swears she never wants to go back to jail, she quit meeting her probation officer and doing her drug tests, so she has a warrant out for her arrest. Her solution to that is to hide from the police, believing that if she can avoid being picked up for three years it'll go away (Shawn has done some research into that belief and is pretty certain it's untrue; there doesn't seem to be a statute of limitations on probation violations).

After the funeral she had her friend bring her to our house with all of her stuff. She was sad, but we invited her friends to stay for a while and eat with us. We had a nice dinner with them and the whole family. After dinner they left, and she got on the computer again, but when it was time for bed, she wanted stay in the house, not go to the trailer. Shawn told her that was fine, but if she was in the house she would have to sleep with me. She wanted to be alone, not with me, so he told her it had to be the trailer. She was quite angry. He tried explaining nicely that with the charges she made against her brothers and him that she couldn't sleep in the house. We had to maintain a distance that left no chances. She finally went to the trailer, but was quite angry at us.

That night Shawn came up with another solution. He would get a camera and install it in the hallway to the spare bedroom, configured to record all movement. That way she could sleep in the house because if she made any rape allegations we'd have proof that it hadn't happened (her previous allegations had been that she was raped while asleep; she is capable of defending herself while awake, so we really only had to solve the sleeping arrangement question).

The next morning, Tuesday, day before yesterday, Makae came in the house from the trailer and got on the computer first thing. The internet sometimes slows down due to the valley where we live not having good service. It made her extremely angry and she started swearing quite obscenely about it. I asked nicely for her to not swear. She said that she would cuss because it was part of who she was, something she was proud of and that if I really loved her I would accept all aspects of her, not just the ones I liked.

I disagreed and told her that swearing was a choice and not inherent to her character or personality. She said her boyfriend had loved her foul mouth, her piercings, her tattoos, her green hair, her rebelliousness and that she should never change and she was going to honor his memory by never changing. I told her that was her choice but if she was in our home the rule was no bad language and she would have to obey that. She continued to get angry and asked why we wanted her back here if we couldn't accept her the way she was, or love her. I told her we did love her and we did accept her, but that didn't mean we had to lower the standards of our home, anyway... she got more upset and finally Shawn got involved. He eventually lost his temper and told her to get out. She refused, and said that we'd always hated her, that we were so terrible to her her whole life, that we were horrible to her. He got really upset at that and said "You know what? I am done. I try and try and try, and you never meet us halfway or any way. From this point on I no longer have a daughter."

Of course that went over well. I kept telling him to calm down and go away, that I would handle it. At this point she decided she was leaving and was crying and a mess. It really hurt her feelings. And she was already upset because of her boyfriend.  Shawn immediately felt terrible and tried to apologize and tell her he said it in a moment of anger, but she wouldn't let him take it back. She said she'd been waiting for years for him to say that, and had always known that he didn't want her. She wanted all of her stuff and was leaving right then.

I finally managed to coax her back inside and settle down a bit. We talked a bit, and she decided that she can't stay with us, that it won't work because she is always so angry with us. She feels like she is never good enough. I tried to explain that we don't feel that way, but she would have none of it. She said some pretty hurtful things as well. Things like we never wanted her, never loved her. That she has no good memories of us or her childhood. She said all of the times we tired to get her help in hospitals, or rehab centers or even with medications was nothing more than abandoning her and that we had done it her whole life. She told us we were the worst parents and could never love her unless we could love and accept all of the choices she made -- choices that, frankly, she made specifically because we thought they were bad ideas.

She talked about how doctors know nothing, how meds do nothing but screw her up. She talked about how our religion had done nothing but make her feel guilty her whole life. She was finally proud of who she was, her identity defined by her body modification, profanity, promiscuity, and drugs.

As I listened I thought she really does need help. What clearer evidence than the fact that she so completely lacks any sense of identity that she has to define herself in terms of such shallow characteristics, every one of them chosen in direct opposition to our ideals. Essentially, her identity is her opposition to our beliefs. Even more, she deliberately seeks out the opposition in every interaction with us -- even when we're not opposed. As an example, she once screamed at Shawn that we're terrible people because we want to deny gay people the right to be married, and continued her tirade even after Shawn said we wanted no such thing and had plans to attend my brother's marriage to his partner (Shawn was their wedding photographer). But it didn't matter that her point of opposition was false, she wanted to make us out to be terrible. We have been careful not to criticize any of her choices, trying to get her to understand that we love her regardless of whether or not we think she's choosing well. But she consistently forces the issue, demanding that we must agree with and even like her choices, because if we don't, that means we don't like or love her.

I'm not sure if this is because she's testing, as borderline sufferers often do, to see if people will stick by her no matter how much she abuses them, as a way to prove that they care, or if she has no identity of her own so these choices really are, to her, the totality of her value as a person. I think maybe it's some of both. Either way, she's really unhealthy, but I can't force treatment because it won't work unless she wants it too. We finally got her to agree to see a psychiatrist and perhaps a therapist, though she said that she hates medications and probably won't take them.

Shawn also offered to help pay for an apartment for her since if she can't live with us we don't want to see her on the street. Homelessness is never good, and in Utah where it gets so cold, it is worse. She got on the internet and found a friend who was willing to let her move in if we paid part of the rent. Afterwards I left for a little while to help my mom.

About 30 minutes later, Shawn called and asked if I had any plain, unscented chapstick, because Makae was upset that the new tattoo she had gotten in remembrance of her boyfriend had begun to dry out and crack and she needed to put something on it. I told him I had some in my purse but that I thought that was the only unscented chapstick I had. I came back, although it turned out that she couldn't use what I had.

She then became quite agitated, insisting that she had to leave right then to get some ointment that would help. She went into a full blown panic attack, unable to control her emotions, or her thought processes, and even sort of had some tics. I agreed to drive her down to Ogden and buy her some ointment for fresh tattoos. She yelled at me the whole time I was getting in the truck to go. She yelled at me for not moving fast enough or caring about her or anyone else and just myself. She yelled at me because I didn't have any chapstick, and then for not knowing she needed the ointment when I arrived. When I told her I thought it was pretty selfish to think that I should know what she and her dad talked about when I was gone she got really angry and made some completely nonsensical comments about how it was my responsibility to know these things, and not her fault. I harrumphed at that and she went on for the whole way down the canyon about how I never listen and that only with us does she get so out of control.

I finally told her that she was the only one who wouldn't let the subject drop, and she kept yelling at me to shut up and let her calm herself down, and that I never let her. Anyway... she was just mentally out of control. Not violent physically, but mentally. We finally made it to the store and bought her ointment. Then she said she couldn't go back up and told me to drop her off at a friends house. At this point I had been yelled at and verbally attacked for most of the day so I was happy to. I dropped her off, and went home. I spent the afternoon thinking and wondering and second guessing my actions and thoughts. She contacted me later to say that we could meet the girl she wanted to move in with today and that would we please bring all of her stuff to her, and asked me to wash all of her clothes for her. I did.

I got on the computer later to see that she had posted on facebook that her parents were willing to pay someone to let her live with them if it would just get her out of our lives, that is how much we hated her. She told us how much all of her friends hated us, because of how we treated her. It hurts. I won't say it doesn't. But last night I actually felt a little peace. I felt like God would watch out for her and that, no matter what, he knew her problems and that he loved her and that he would sort through things.

The saddest realization of the day is that Makae is so unhappy because she is searching for it in all the wrong places. She wants someone to give her value, she wants things to make her happy, to feel something other than shame, and yet she makes choices that only produce more shame. It's a vicious downward cycle. The things that would give her self worth and true happiness she rejects vehemently as things we have tried to "shove" down her throat her whole life. I'm not even talking about religion, although I think God would help her if she would allow it, but just everything about having a normal, stable life.

We met her new roommate today. The place was clean and well kept. It smelled good. The girl seemed to have it together. She is going to college and has a job. She knows Makae and her issues and is very patient with her. I hope it really works for Makae, that she can find some stability. We will look into doctors, but again it is really up to Makae to make it work. She isn't willing to take medications, even though if she's having hallucinations she clearly needs them.

I wish that she could see how much love we have for her. When talking to Shawn about how terrible he felt about the things he said, I said "She may hate us all of our lives here on earth, but when we get to the other side she will realize why we did what we did. She will see the love we had/have for her and that we only wanted her happiness. She will know how much we cared, and how hard we have tried to show her that. She will not be angry or hate us; she will finally recognize us for what and who we are, and I hope for what and who she is. I wish she didn't have to go through this life with a broken mind. I wish she didn't have the issues she does, but I have to have faith that God knows why... and however unfathomable to me there is a good reason for it. I know he will not leave her abandoned, any more than we can. We just don't always see it, just as Makae doesn't always see us."

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. She needs help and we are only able to do so much. She could use all the help she can get.
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